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    Top 5 of 2014

    What a year!!! You take the good, you take the bad….. I had a lot of family heartache (hence the comprehensive list) and saw a lot of AMAZING live shows. I’ve been loving the picks by the other members of #GuelphMusicClub and I’m sure those of you that know me aren’t surprised that I’m posting my picks at the last possible moment of the year. So here is my mess of a list for 2014. Metal, princesses, some indie and some mega stars. And a record that came out in 2013. Let’s start with that one.


    Northcote – Selftitled

    Northcote coverYes, I know, it came out in 2013, but I hadn’t heard the name Northcote until this year. So it counts. On a random Tuesday this fall I headed up to DSTRCT to check out a show that was getting quite a bit of buzz. Northcote was already on stage and blew me away. When I saw they had their record on vinyl I knew I needed to have it. I left the show half way through the headlining act to go home, poor a glass of whiskey and put the vinyl on, where it stayed for three weeks. Northcote has a great mix of small town, working man rock, with some subtle punk undertones. I’d say it has a New Jersey feel, but it’s Canadian, so I’ll say it has a very Hamilton feel. One of the best bands I saw this year, and a great album that translates from the turntable to the stage perfectly. You can stream/download the whole album on the Northcote Bandcamp page. Do IT!!!

    Mastodon – Once More Round The Sun

    aetgrhsgdcnI’ve been a Mastodon fan for a long time. I find their albums are always above and beyond a lot of that other hard rock/metal dribble. Although I’ve loved almost every album they’ve done up to this point, often times felt like there was something missing. Like it could have been BIGGER or… whatever it doesn’t matter. What was missing is there on Once More Round The Sun. It’s a wickedly EPIC, juggernaut of an album. When I put in my headphones, this album makes me walk really fast. So it comes in really handy when you’re late for something like the bus. Once More Round The Sun has to be the most complete sounding Mastodon album to date and I love it almost as much as I love my dog. THAT’S how good it is!

    Prince & 3rdeyegirl – Plectrumelectrum

    Plectrumelectrum_Album_CoverPrince!!! Back with two albums and a major label! I prefer Plectrumelectrum to Art Official Age. Did you know he got the rights back to his his old songs?! That’s huge!  Prince is the most under rated guitar player EVER! I mean Prince just wails. Watch his musical guest spot on Saturday Night Live from a few weeks back if you don’t believe me. Why would they even get a host? SNL should have just played a Prince concert. I can’t listen to the album in public. Plectrumelectrum makes me tingle and fizzle and makes me awkward to be around. There is a flavour for everyone on this album. Rock, Funk, Soul, Blues, whatever. Call it a day. Prince is BACK!

    The Balconies – Fast Motions

    BalconiesFast Motions is an awesomely catchy rock record by Toronto band The Balconies. It came out last January and hasn’t left my MP3 player since. It’s the type of right on, sing-a-long, hooks for days, high paced rock record that you’ll be bouncing around to on your first listen. I’m sure Fast Motions is technical, crafted and produced and stuff. The Balconies could have slaved for years in the studio over these songs but they don’t sound that way and you won’t care anyway because you’ll be having too much fun listening to them. Tomorrow when you wake up all hungover from too much New Year’s partying drink a glass of water and take a dose of Fast Motions by The Balconies. You’ll feel better.

    Taylor Swift – 1989
    Cover FrontUgh. I know…. This is like that scene in High Fidelity, when Rob walks into the record store and Barry is listening to Vince and Justin. You know, the skater kids that hang out in the parking lot. Then Barry is  trying to describe the music but he’s reluctant and just saying, “It’s really… It’s really,” then he rubs his forehead like what he’s about to say is stressing him out or is going to hurt him and adds, “It’s really F@#kin’ good.” That’s how I feel about the latest Taylor Swift album. I knew I was in TROUBLE (anyone catch what I did there?) the second I heard Shake It Off. It broke some sales records and stuff too, so there’s that. I am a grown-ass man now and have no problems announcing my guilty pleasures from on high! Turn off your brain, stop stressing and over thinking what you may like, or my not like, and just enjoy a really fun pop record. If I ever cleaned my apartment, I’d listen to 1989 on repeat while I did it.

    There you go #GuelphMusicClub! From everyone here at Music Lives, be safe tonight and have a happy New Year one and all!

    It’s Always All Just A Kiss Away

    I have one fond memory of Let It Bleed. I got it at Music In Orbit (I looked for a picture of the store front on the internet, but couldn’t find one) on vinyl for $8, because I was the only one to bid on it, during one of their weekly silent auctions. I also got the original pressing of Sticky Fingers, the one with the actually zipper on the cover, the same way. If you have the same version of Sticky Fingers take notice, the zipper will put a dent in the cover and the vinyl of the record next to it if there is enough weight on either side.

    Let It Bleed is a record I put on when I have the blues and want to stay that way. No stories of high school or discovering myself this week. Just straight up moodiness and good tunes. When people talk about the Rolling Stones, or Keith Richards, being blues based, they are talking about Let It Bleed.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ih4JcAaocs
    The album starts and ends with two of my Top 5 Rolling Stones songs, Gimme Shelter and You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Neither are classic “blues” but both songs are right up there with The Rolling Stones‘ greatest. Song two, side one is a Robert Johnson cover, followed by Country Honk, a stripped down version of Honky Tonk Women, played country-style, with a fiddle and such. The second side starts with an almost 7 minute version of Midnight Rambler, the harmonica and super-blues remix, and ends perfectly with YCAGWYW.

    Being 3/5th through the Guelph Music Club‘s first assignment, I’m not actually surprised that no one else has named any Stones record as a favourite. It’s okay. I’ve always been outnumbered when answering that important question.

    ENJOY LIFE!!!

    This HAS to be done at some point. But which album? Black Sabbath had five albums in three years that were better than most bands whole catalogue. Their self-titled debut has the creepiest intro you’ve ever heard, to this day. It also created the genre of Heavy Metal. It’s just not quite enough to make my Top 5 from 1963 – 1973. Master of Reality was the first record I bought when I decided to start collecting vinyl. Not in my Top 5. Metal got boring to me at the turn of the century. When a lot of bands coming out were trying to be either Pantera or Korn, I stayed in my high school years, listening to my favourite CDs, rather than seeking out anything new. One day while listening to one of my favourite albums, The Real Thing by Faith No More, I noticed one of the songs wasn’t written by them. War Pigs was one of the most epic songs (any Faith No More fans see what I did there?) I’d ever heard. I grew up sheltered and Baptist. But now that I knew I liked a Black Sabbath song, it was time to find more of their music. And I had some, right under my nose.

    How hard is it to check a box and throw something in the mail? I could never do it. That’s how lazy I was/am. I had Cracked Rear View, GordonUnder the Table and Dreaming all sent to me as the “Alternative Pick Of The Month”. The guy at Columbia House had no idea what “Alternative” music was to us in high school. So I had a rather large stack of CDs I’d never touched, I always assumed they sucked, which was my bad. One of the picks had been Nativity In Black: A Tribute To Black Sabbath. I played it. Loved it. Went down to the Beat Goes On, bought the sequel. This Pantera cover is amazing, and I just had to buy Sabbath‘s greatest hits, We Sold Our Souls For Rock N Roll.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gBg_EXBpKc
    I really start getting into Sabbath until I got into collecting vinyl. Here’s the list I have now:

    Not too shabby if I do say so myself! I’ve got most for between $4 and $10 at record shows over the last 6 years or so. You just have to know where to look.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avgMaWsJcRM
    So after all of this, I am choosing Paranoid as my second of five. The cover songs posted above are originally featured on the album, plus the title track and a little song called IRONMAN! There has been some controversy surrounding Paranoid that I want to help clear up.  The lyrics near the end of the song, are NOT, “I tell you to end your life. I wish I could but it’s too late.” I want you to actually think about the words for a second. IF those are in fact the lyrics, it means the narrator is singing from beyond the grave. A theme that wouldn’t be a stretch for Sabbath. The narrator can’t “end his life” because he’s already dead. That’s why, “it’s too late”. But we know he’s alive, “I need someone to show me the things in life that I can’t find,” he says so. The other line that, if thought about, support the “enjoy life” over “end your life” claim are, “Finished with my woman ’cause she couldn’t help me with my mind.” If our narrator is already dead, why is he worried about breaking up with his girlfriend?

    Guelph Music Club: First Week Wrap-Up

    Guelph Music Club had our first round of sharing this week. It’s not too late to join and it’s not just for Guelphites. Click the following links for more info on the assignment or the rules, Our first writing assignment, which ran for this, and runs for another 4 weeks, is Top 5 Albums from 1963 to 1973. So far, I’ve only been surprised by a few choices. But it’s only Week One! I’ll do this every week, but this week is important so you can follow us all on Twitter, and get a brief introduction. Here is how the first week shaped up.

    Tuesday

    220px-Ascension_albumMegan or @MMBRIS ‏started the assignment, making the first post of the week, choosing  John Coltrane , Ascension as one of her Top 5.  When Megan writes “I was 16 and decided to go grab a copy of the cd from my local HMV, having had to have it ordered in at that time. Read More… I actually had to stop reading to think about what I was getting ordered, to my local record store at, 16. Probably Pop Will Eat Itself albums, because I had heard Trent Reznor liked them.
    220px-Machine_Head_album_cover

    The same day, Pat AKA ‏@Type1DIABEETUS picks Deep Purple’s Machine Head as one of his albums. “My dad was the first person to play this album for me when I was a kid and it has stuck with me ever since. Read More… If you’ve read my post for this week you already know I also have a father with impeccable taste in music, even if mine turned his back on it for a while. And yes, there are more fatherly themes to come. Pat can also eat a cooking onion like an apple. I’ve seen him do it. It’s impressive.

    Wednesday

    220px-TheDoorsTheDoorsalbumcoverOur Metal/Punk contributor ‏@Chucky667 picked a record by a band that has been on every music lovers mind this week as keyboardist Ray Manzarek of The Doors passed away. This album isn’t in my Top 5, but I do know what ‏Chuck means when she says, “They were ahead of their time, and continue to stand apart from other bands, even to this day. Read More…” The Doors‘ sound was never duplicated, especially that keyboard/organ. You know a song by The Doors as soon as you hear it.

    Thursday

    NurseryCryme71Rob over at Sound In My Memory talks about one of his favourite bands, Genesis. I’m not surprised that ‏@soundinmymemory picked a prog band for his first entry. I’ve been reading his blog longer than I’ve had my own. What actually stood out to me was, “I regret that I allowed Genesis to be dismissed as a pop band for as long as I did. Read More…” Bands evolve over time and Genesis are a perfect example of that. I actually got into the band’s back catalogue because of a live DVD I’d seen, and was impressed by, during the Gabriel years. Otherwise, I also would have “Thought of Genesis as if they were just Phil Collins’ back-up band.”

    Friday

    220px-Pious_BirdThe end of the week scramble beings on Friday, first with ‏@kirstmck2 picking Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird of Good Omen. A lot of people forget that Fleetwood Mac were around long before  Rumours. They had a few different changes before settling with the “classic” Mick FleetwoodJohn McVieLindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks line-up. “Santana later popularized the album’s “black magic woman” and most listeners are none the wiser to its origin. Read more…” What?! My whole life has been a LIE! My favourite Santana song, is actually a Peter Green song! MIND = BLOWN! Thanks for crumbling my universe Kirstie.

    220px-The_Band_(album)_coverartI didn’t really get into The Band by The Band,  @MatCalverley‘s first pick, until I was in my late twenties. They had a hippie stigma attached to them, in my mind anyway, and I was metal. I had long hair and was called a hippie all the time. So after the long hair went, I was able to appreciate The Band. “It’s an album of sitting around, drinking bourbon, cold nights, and warm spirits. Read more… I agree with Mat‘s sentiment exactly, except I prefer a smokey Scotch to bourbon.

    David_Bowie_-_Hunky_DoryWho starts with David Bowie‏@MikeGamble that’s who!  Hunky Dory to boot. As some of you know, David Bowie is my favourite recording artist of all time. Mike pretty much sums up why when he says, “The catchiness and accessibility of every song, the guitar playing of Mick Ronson and just the overall “feel” of the album as a whole. You can really start to hear where Bowie was going to go in the future with his music. Read More…” Bowie did take a lot of chances with his music, some of it was good, and some was bad, but it was all fascinating on some level.

    Led_Zeppelin_-_I wrote some words too, picking Led Zeppelin’s IV as my first album for the assignment. I talk about being grounded, Lord of the Flies, tape trading and  more! Read it here.

    Saturday

    I guess I should be flattered that @Bejulip totally copied me! Just kidding. Her reasons for liking Led Zeppelin IV are completely different than mine. My favourite being, “It was an album so cool it didn’t even need a name. Led Zeppelin IV should totally beat Prince up for pretending he was the first one to think of it. Read more…

    220px-StoogesRawPower@whiskysodacider finished up the week one posts with her choice, Raw Power. An album I didn’t discover until late into my musical journey.  “Raw Power is exciting and hyper music that you can dance to. Read more…” You can dance to it, but I probably shouldn’t.

    Week two is already well underway, with about half of Guelph Music Club already having posts done. If you want to read those, check out #GuelphMusicClub on Twitter and follow this list!

    Waiting For The Angels Of Avalon

    I got grounded a lot as a teenager. My parents thought it was the only form of discipline that worked. You know, to teach me a lesson. I’m not so sure it was, but in hind sight, I’m starting to believe that’s where my love of music started. I’d lock myself in my bedroom with my Dad’s record collection, which was small compared to my collection now, but filled with amazing classics.

    Led Zeppelin’s IV (1971), Zoso, Symbols or whatever you want to call it, was one of the albums I discovered. This was probably after Grunge had run it’s course. I was a late bloomer in a lot of ways and music was one of my outlets to deal with that. Without being able to go to the record store after school, I had no new tapes to throw into my Sony Sports Walkman. My friends and I did trade tapes, but without me having anything new to trade with them, that was a resource that dried up pretty quickly. $1 for a tape was a lot of money back then, minimum wage was $5.65, so I couldn’t blame them. Really, digging through my Dad’s vinyl became a necessity.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqDLVR2I5QE
    I first heard Led Zeppelin‘s, Whole Lotta Love on a compilation record, which I turned it off as soon as the song had finished, to throw on Zoso. I’d been read Tolkien as a kid and my Dad told me that Led Zeppelin had a lot of songs about the books. So you would think I’d read them again right? Nope. Another thing that I started to do, while being grounded, was my homework. Album on repeat, reading Lord Of The Flies not The Rings. They suited each other perfectly, and I fell in love with reading too.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHJH0ETi8D4
    I’m not doing my Top 5 Albums from 1963 to 1973 for #GuelphMusicClub in any kind of order, but this is one of those stars aligning, timing being everything, type of things. Sure, I like a couple of their albums more now, but had I not been grounded at a time when my my musical curiosity was at it’s peak, I may have never have discovered Led Zeppelin at all. Wrap your head around that for a minute.

    Guelph Music Club Homework Assignment #1 – Top 5 Albums from 1963 to 1973

    Our inaugural topic for #GuelphMusicClub! During a chat on Twitter last week, a pile of music fans, bloggers, Guelphites thought it would be fun to read/write their own opinions on a weekly set topic. For the rules and break down, read this.

    So The Bookshelf News mentioned a Top 5 list based on decade, with the first decade being 1963 to 1973. We were going to start with bands, but most of us agreed that albums would be easier, especially for our first run at this. I also believe it will be easier to do ONE ALBUM PER WEEK rather than all five at once. Justifying why you love an album could take up to 500 words. Multiply by five. 2500 words. That’s too many for most of us to write in a month, let alone a week. Plus, now you know what you’re writing about for the next 5 weeks. Which, with peoples summer schedule, will be easier to manage.

    2013-05-16_18-47-51So, if I’ve made any sense here, for the next five weeks we’ll be exploring each others favourite albums from 1963 to 1973. Again, check out The Rules of Guelph Music Club if you want to join, and remember to use the #GuelphMusicClub hash-tag when you make your post so the rest of us can find it.

    I got a list together on Twitter for making participants easier to find.

     

    Guelph Music Club

    Oh Twitter. Make one comment and next thing you know, #GuelphMusicClub is born.

    Tweet-1

    It started with The Bookshelf & Mike Gamble.

    Tweet-2 Tweet-3

    With the last reply I tried to open it up, just a little.


    And then the ball really started rolling…Tweet-6

    Tweet-5 Tweet-7 Tweet-8 Tweet-9
    Tweet-4Tweet-8.5There are a pile more screenshots, but you get the idea.


    So if a dozen of us, give or take, are gonna contribute to this, we will need some guidelines.

    Guelph Music Club Rules

    1st RULE: You do not talk about GUELPH MUSIC CLUB.

    2nd RULE: You DO talk about GUELPH MUSIC CLUB.

    3rd RULE: GUELPH MUSIC CLUB is FREE to all! Meaning we are allowed to re-post to blogs, Tumblr, Facebook etc. Rob Brown can re-post my favourites to Sound In My Memory, and MMBRIS can share Teresa Eh‘s favourites on Tumblr. If  The Bookshelf is selling one of our favourite albums in their music section, and want to use a quote from one of us in their monthly newsletter, Off The Shelf, they can. The catch here is that everyone has to give the author credit for their work. For example: If it’s originally posted by Rob, I’ll add a line at the top of the post including Sound In My Memory and his twitter handle. We could also only post segments of posts with the link to the original source like Alan Cross does. Agreed/Ideas?

    4th RULE: If you do NOT have an outlet for publishing, one will be provided for you. If you’re just a regular Joe or Josephine and need a place to publish your posts, there are a few of us on board already that could hook you up. Even if you send us an email with your post, I can create a profile for you, linking to your Twitter account, so you get the credit.

    5th RULE: If someone missed the deadline for their post, they are not removed from GUELPH MUSIC CLUB. It just means that they’ll have nothing contributed for that week’s theme. Summer is coming and I’m sure we all have different things going on. For example: If you don’t have time to post your favourite album from 1966. Cool. See you in 1967. Let’s try to keep this fun!

    6th RULE: Deadlines for GUELPH MUSIC CLUB start and stop at 12 AM each Sunday. Each week we’ll have a different goal. You can share your post whenever you like and others can share your post whenever they like, within that week. For example: I’ll try to feature at least one post a day on Music Lives, but never more than three a day.

    7th RULE:  #GuelphMusicClub is the hash-tag. Use it whenever you post a link in regards to the club, no matter what! I’m guessing we’ll all be using different Fan Pages, Blogs, etc. for our posts, but considering this started on Twitter, I know we all (so far) have one. Note: We’ll get a list together and I’ll do a quick introduction post to make sure everyone knows who to follow and which sites you might want to bookmark once we have a better idea of who is going to participate. 

    8th RULE: GUELPH MUSIC CLUB will go on as long as it has to. We’ll agree on different topics to discuss as we go. Also, posts may be as long, or short as the author sees fit. Note:I think we’re starting with Top 5 albums, by decade. I’m not sure which decade we are starting with. Should we do one album a week for the next five weeks and then pick a different topic or decade? Or Everyone do one post for ALL of their Top 5 of that decade at once? The later will be harder for people to stay dedicated to. 

    9th RULE: NEGATIVITY is THE ONLY WAY to get KICKED OUT of GUELPH MUSIC CLUB. This is supposed to be a open forum for music lovers. I’m fully aware that liking Meatloaf‘s, Bat Out Of Hell, is tacky. It’s one of the reasons I love it. And the album art is bad-ass! I just don’t need to be made fun of for it. Note: Anyone notice what I did there? 

    10th RULE: If this is your first night at GUELPH MUSIC CLUB, you HAVE to write.


    We’ll get feedback from everyone that wants to be involved over the next few days and try to have everything set up to go by Sunday. If you think The Rules for GUELPH MUSIC CLUB need amending, or if I missed something, let me know. I’ll make a separate post for them too, once everyone has weighed in.

    Just keep using the hash tag #GuelphMusicClub so I see everything. You can also comment on this post below, email or comment on the Facebook post

    Now off to see some Live Music!

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